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HindustanTimes Sun,23 Nov 2014
The world of ugly technology
Rajiv Makhni, Hindustan Times
May 10, 2013
First Published: 13:03 IST(10/5/2013)
Last Updated: 19:11 IST(11/5/2013)

We live in a world full of new discoveries and innovations. New out-of-the-box ideas and fantastic groundbreaking devices are unleashed upon us almost every day. Unfortunately, this quest to come up with radical new products also gives birth to some truly horrible ideas. Here’s my annual list of grotesquely stupid tech.

Wayki Toothbrush: A toothbrush that will wake you up? Actually it does more than that. One part of this ‘innovation’ sits next to your bed. The alarm goes off at the set time and the only way to shut it off is to run to the bathroom with it, snap on the toothbrush head and brush for two minutes. Then you have to remember to snap it off and take one part back to your bedroom. This device is wrong on so many levels, including the huge shock your body will go through daily as you try to to get it to shut off. Fortunately, the company hasn’t got funding to take this nightmare oral hygiene horror and sleep killer to the rest of the world. There is a God!

Loo behold: Do you really want an iPod dock that dispenses toilet paper?

Necomimi Brainwave Cat Ears: Just how far can you go to experience the wonders of technology? Well, these cat ears will push those limits far beyond what you can ever imagine. These little monstrosities can actually read your thoughts and can sense your brainwaves. Strap these onto your head – think relaxing thoughts and the ears droop; get stressed or focussed and they stand up all erect. And after you’ve used it as a party trick for 30 seconds, throw them away.

iCarta Toilet Paper Dispensing iPod Dock: Super crap is a fitting description here, in more ways than one. It’s an iPod dock that can belt out tunes and dispense toilet paper at the same time. It has water-resistant speakers and various settings for music playback. The only real problem here would be to actually operate it, touch it and use the buttons before you use the toilet paper. I would also recommend that you set this to play ‘hard rock’ music on those days when you’re slightly constipated.

Kenwood Radio Toaster: At first glance this makes sense. Why waste the space that the toaster takes up – use it to get some news and music while you wait for your toast to burn. But that’s when some sense kicks in. It looks absolutely ridiculous, the radio part won’t last too long with all that heat inside, I wouldn’t want to touch a hot surface while trying to tune into a different radio channel and a toaster with an antenna sticking out of it is just the perfect way of telling people that I’ve pretty much lost all my marbles.

The HAPIfork: I was actually quite ‘happy’ when I saw this at CES. Here’s a fork that can tell you the number of times you put food in your mouth, the timing between each mouthful, how long your meal took, what time you started and what time you finished. Plus, it can vibrate and let you know if you’re eating too fast. Sounds good? Actually, it’s quite horrible. It’s basically just a tacky little vibrating toy with a sensor and timer that gives way too much information about nothing and costs a whopping R7,000. And now they have a Hapi Spoon and Hapi Chopsticks too. The very thought makes me very UnHapi.

The Necomimi Brainwave Cat Ears reads your thoughts

Louis Vuitton Waffle Maker: If you can’t get enough of your LV monogram on your luggage, bag and wallet – then maybe embossing your waffles and muffins and sandwiches will help. Do I really need to describe the silliness of this any further?

MP3 Rubik Cube: You take one of the greatest puzzle toys in the history of the world and then add a horrible little twist to it, literally. Shove an MP3 player into it. The worst part is that it doesn’t even function properly as a Rubik’s Cube and the acoustic capabilities of the MP3 player are a double whammy. You can’t help look at something like this and not ask ‘Why’?

Make it tough: The MP3 Rubik Cube is a functional disaster. The acoustics are terrible too

Puppy Tweets: Strap this onto your dog, set up a Twitter account and then watch him tweet out his thoughts all day. It has an internal accelerometer, a microphone and connects wirelessly to a USB dongle you attach to your computer. Now it waits for your dog to get into some action. Every bark, every movement and every move is interpreted with a tweet out. It has about 500 different tweets built in and they’ll start appearing on his Twitter account at a pretty fast pace. The problem, besides what I’ve already described, is that the device is huge and the tweets are super repetitive.

Game Skunk: Time for you to smell the action. If you’re a gamer and want to smell napalm, gunfire, smoke and death – then this is the must-have for you. It hooks up to your computer and emits a smorgasbord of smells from a bank of over 30,000 different scents to enhance your gaming experience. Just be careful not to have this turned on when you enter the sewer in pursuit of the bad guys.

Thumb Drive: We all call it a thumb drive, so why not just make it look like one? Well, the one reason I can give you not to do that is that this is just plain gross and looks like a prop from a Ramsay Brothers horror movie – sticking out of your computer. That takes care of the annual tech stinkers list. But this year, let’s turn this into an award event. You can think of the above as nominations. Let me know which one truly deserves to be crowned the world’s most stupid tech device. It’s a coveted title and one that you need to tweet in using the hashtag #techstinker

Rajiv Makhni is managing editor, Technology, NDTV, and the anchor of Gadget Guru, Cell Guru and Newsnet 3

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